In the last two posts I have discussed identity theft and privacy, two concerns of genealogists working with today's interconnected technology. Privacy is a difficult topic because there are so many aspects to the issue, from personal privacy in daily life, to whether or not banks and other financial institutions can see your personal financial records. Genealogists research families and therefore often encounter personal, private, sensitive topics and information. The main question is how or when is it appropriate to use this private information?
Privacy -- more than Social Security numbers
Whether your great-grandmother had a child out of wedlock or was institutionalized for mental illness may be a sensitive family issue, but has nothing to do with privacy or privacy laws. With some few exceptions, even in Canada with its laws like Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) recognizes that sensitive personal information about a deceased individual diminishes over time and protection ends when an individual has been dead for at least 20 years or the information is in a record over 100 years old. As disturbing as it may be to family members, old dead people have no privacy.